Did Marilyn Monroe have an abortion? All about her pregnancies

Marilyn Monroe

Andrew Dominik’s Blonde has sparked plenty of debate, which he views as a positive. The production team publicized that Blonde would be a mostly fictional portrayal of Marilyn Monroe’s life, but we don’t think anyone expected the film to delve that deep into fantasy.

In one standout scene, a CGI fetus begs Marilyn, a character expertly portrayed by Ana de Armas, not to abort it. Monroe changes her decision to abort on her way to the clinic, but the abortion is forced on her. The abortion scene is so grizzly it doesn’t feel like it belongs in a biopic, regardless of the film’s truth. 

Monroe didn’t abort – she lost her children due to endometriosis 

Marilyn Monroe wanted to have children. “Someday, I want to have children and give them all the love I never had,” Monroe said. 

Monroe got pregnant three times during her marriage to Arthur Miller and once more following a 1960 romance with Italian-French actor Yves Montand. The last pregnancy remained a secret for decades. In 2017, photos taken by her confidant Frieda Hull in 1960 surfaced, confirming Monroe was pregnant during her dalliance with Montand. 

Unfortunately, Monroe failed to carry her children to term. The first pregnancy ended due to a miscarriage; the second was an ectopic pregnancy; she lost her last two pregnancies in unclear circumstances. 

Monroe didn’t abort her children – she couldn’t carry her children to term due to endometriosis, a condition in which cells on the uterine lining grow on other parts of the female reproductive system. Endometriosis causes severe pain during menstruation and can cause infertility and miscarriages. 

Anthony Summers chronicled Monroe’s struggle with endometriosis in his 2013 book Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe. “One of the most famous sufferers of endometriosis was Marilyn Monroe,” Summers writes. Summers continues:

“The condition was so severe that it destroyed her marriages, her wish for children, her career and ultimately her life. In days before effective conservative surgery or effective medical therapies, it led to progressively increasing use of strong analgesics, tranquilizers and hypnotics – and drug dependency.”

In Blonde, the CGI fetus is nearly fully formed. In reality, Monroe’s pregnancies didn’t get to that point. The one time her baby bump showed was in the photos taken by Hull in July 1960 – Monroe lost the pregnancy shortly after the pictures were taken. 

People have accused director Andrew Dominik of publicizing an anti-pro choice message in his film. Dominik told The Wrap that people looking at the movie through the ‘Roe v. Wade lens’ will find fault in the narrative. “It’s not really about that,” Dominik said. He added:

“I don’t think the movie is anti-pro choice. I don’t think it is at all. And I’m not convinced that she actually wants to have a baby. I think she has feelings about not having a baby. There’s a wish for a baby but there’s fear of [a] baby, and I think that’s kind of the central stressor on her.”